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Workers race ahead of clayey earth 'flowing like water' into excavation

RESIDENTS AND WORKERS in Singapore's Golden Mile Tower had a bird's eye view of the Circle Line tunnelling works. Now a scene of aweinspiring devastation lies before them.

The chaos is testament to the forces at play when the collapse occurred.

Heavy steel sections have been mangled and diaphragm wall panels ripped apart.

One gang of construction workers said their foreman had picked up on unusual cracking and groaning noises in struts towards the bottom of the 30m deep excavation at about 9am on the day of the collapse.

That afternoon, workers were alerted to the impending failure by loud cracking noises in those same deep struts 15-20 minutes before the diaphragm walls started moving.

The clayey earth reportedly flowed into the excavation 'like water'.

Workers described racing to outclimb the flood of material welling up from below and pouring in through the huge tears appearing between panels of the diaphragm walls in the shortlived but intensely violent collapse.

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